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BranchCMS Upgrades

API Updates

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We pushed out an update today that renames a number of the internal app API methods to some more intuitive names. Essentially we removed "Filter" from the API method names and made the API method names plural. Below is a list of the updated API methods. The old method names will continue to work but we do not recommend using them anymore as they are deprecated. App Old Method Name New Method…

Updated Chat and Support for BranchCMS

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
One of our goals with BranchCMS is to make it as easy as possible to get help while you work on your website. There is always room for improvement but one area that has proven to help is chat. Last fall we implemented Drift as a chat client in BranchCMS. While Drift is great and we would recommend them, we were finding a disconnect between our chat support conversations and email…

Add Campaign Subscribers One at a Time

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
Previously the only way to add new Campaign subscribers to a subscriber list was to import a CSV file. While this worked great when adding a large number of subscribers, if you had to add just a few subscribers it was a bit of a pain. You can now add subscribers one at a time to a subscriber list. First, go to Marketing -> Email Campaigns -> Subscriber Lists Click on the subscriber list that you…

Branch Code Conversion Tool

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We have been working on changing our template engine from Branch Code to Twig over the last few months. To make it easier for developers to update their code we built a tool that will convert Branch Code to Twig code. It's a huge time saver! To get there go to Site Manager -> Tools -> Convert Branch Code to Twig. This will bring you to the conversion tool. Enter your Branch Code in the field on…

BranchCMS + Twig = A Better Template Engine

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
Since January we have been working on changing the core template engine from our proprietary Branch Code to the popular Twig engine. We are about 95% done and figured that it was time to let everyone know about it. For those that don't know, Branch Code (and now Twig) is the code that is used in templates to build your site and display your content. Why Twig? Because it has an awesome name that…

Multi-Day Events Now Supported in the Calendar App

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
The Calendar app in BranchCMS has only supported events that occurred on one day. For events that happened for multiple days in a row we recommended that the the repeat functionality was used to repeat the event for a few days. That worked but there were some cases where it doesn't work.  What if you have an conference that happens for a few days in a row but you only want to show it once in…

New Responsive Navigation

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We're pleased to announce that the navigation within the new interface for BranchCMS is now responsive and mobile friendly. While the entire administration isn't fully mobile friendly yet, this is a big step towards that goal.  Click on the menu button in the upper right to reveal the primary navigation. You will notice that on smaller screens the left sidebar is completely hidden when it's…

New Support Chat Widget

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We just added a new way that you can contact BranchCMS support while working on your website. In the bottom right corner of your screen you will see a floating chat icon. If you click that you can start a support chat with us right away.  Hovering over the icon shows a message box were you can start the conversation. Chat is currently available between 8 am and 5 pm EST. If you want to contact…

New Interface for BranchCMS

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We recently pushed out a big update that brings a fresh, modern look to BranchCMS.  Right now the user interface (UI) change is optional. We plan to switch everyone over in October.   Over the last few weeks we have had a few select companies try out the new UI and so far feedback has been very positive. The goals for the new UI included: Move the navigation to a more traditional place at…

Add a Navigation Link While Adding a New Page

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
It has long been a request to be able to add a link to a site's navigation at the same time that a new page is being created. Today we pushed out an update that makes that possible.  We also redesigned the form for adding a new page and fixed some long-standing bugs. In addition to adding a navigation link you can also set the meta description and whether or not a page is hidden from search…

New reCAPTCHA Integration

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
Form spam is a real pain and we're trying to make it easier to block it on your website. We've had support for image-based CAPTCHA for a while now, but it's not always the prettiest thing and bots are getting smarter. To give you another option in the fight against spam we recently integrated Google's reCAPTCHA service into all forms in BranchCMS. Quoting Google's developer page: "reCAPTCHA is a…

Change in How You Edit Content

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We just pushed out a small update that could have a big impact. Previously when you wanted to edit something you would click the blue pencil edit icon in the Actions column. With other types of content like Forms, you wouldn't necessarily edit something directly as it may be a bit more complicated. On the form list page you would click the blue details icon to first view the form details. There…

New Keyboard Shortcut to Save Content

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We recently pushed out an update that allows you to save your content in the BranchCMS administration using a keyboard shortcut. Anytime you are working on editing a page, blog post, template, content template or whatever, you can save your changes without touching your mouse with the following keyboard shortcut: PC: Ctrl+sMac: Cmd+s If you're on a Windows PC simply hold down the Ctrl key and the…

New Warning About Leaving Unsaved Changes

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We recently pushed out an update that warns you if you are leaving a page without saving your progress. If you were editing something and you made changes to it and before you saved your progress you reloaded the page, went back to a previous page or navigated to a different page, then you will now get a warning about leaving with unsaved changes.  A lot of modern mouses have either swipe…

Fun With Loading Indicators

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We use loading indicator images and popups to show our users when something is happening within BranchCMS. They are good design patterns to use as they let you know that something is going on and it's ok to wait a few seconds. For example, we use them when saving pages or when loading a new page to edit.  We have been incrementally updating the UI across BranchCMS and decided that it was time to…

We Switched Our Icons From Fonts to SVG - and It's Better

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We use a lot of icons in BranchCMS to add more visual clues to the different actions that you can do.  For example, we use a "save" icon with the Save buttons. And there are a lot of icons with our tables that show lists of items like a list of blog posts.  We started out a long time ago using PNG and GIF images for the icons. Then a few years ago we switched to font icons. First we…

Updated Template Code Editor

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
The code editor for site Templates and Snippets has been in need of an update for a long time. We have been using the Ace editor for all other code templates for a while now, but for various reasons the editor for the Templates and Snippets hasn't been updated.  Well now it has. The same editor that is being used for app content templates, form templates and every other code template is now…

New and Improved Repeating Fields

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
The Repeating Fields attribute (formerly called "Repeating Collection of Components") adds a lot of power and flexibility to BranchCMS. It allows you to easily set up a group of fields and then the page editor can add as many sets of the fields as they want. We recently pushed out an update that gives it a major overhaul to it's look and functionality.  Here is the new look. The…

Forms Everywhere!

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We just pushed out a new release that fixes a long-time issue in BranchCMS.  Our Forms app is very useful and allows you to create custom forms. However, until today it was a pain to place a form on app pages (like blog posts or a store product page).  If you wanted to add a register form on a blog post you first had to adjust the URL of the form, which created an extra step that was often…

Small Update When Entering Passwords

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
When you're typing in a password for an account or admin user the text that you enter is masked for security reasons. By default password fields turn the text that you type into dots (••••••••••) to hide the text from prying eyes. It's nice to have but honestly it doesn't add much security and it can lead to typing mistakes.  Quite a while ago we updated the style of the login…

User Activity History Now Available on Individual Pages

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
About a year ago we added support for tracking user activity within Branch CMS. This allowed you to set who edited, added or deleted what. The only problem was that you couldn't easily see it for an individual page or app item like a blog post. Until now. We just pushed out an update that allows you to view the activity on an individual page, blog post, store product, site template, snippet…

More Customization Options With the Form API Tag

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
There are times when it would be nice to programmatically set the value for a form field when displaying it on a page. A recent release now lets you do that through the form's API tag.  Before we get into the details let me give you an example first. Let's say that you have a few product pages and you want to place a small lead-generation form on those pages for prospective customer's to easily…

New Form Field Types

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
A few weeks ago we pushed out an update to branchCMS that adds a few new field types for Forms & Surveys.  Rating Field Group Section Heading HTML Content Granted, the first one is the only one that's actually a form field, but the others make it easier to create different form layouts without having to customize the form templates all the time.  Here is a brief overview of each new field…

View the Folder Sizes in the File Browser

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
This morning we pushed out a small update that allows you to view how much disk space your website is using.  Go to Site Manager -> File Browser. When the page loads you can see the size of the site down in the bottom left. As you click or hover over any folder it's size will show in the bottom left as well.  If you delete any files in a folder click on the folder name to recalculate it's size.

Introducing Full Page Cache

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
How fast your website loads has become more and more important lately. We recently pushed out a big feature that can dramatically speed up your website.  We've had support for caching different pieces of your website like navigation menus, but until now you couldn't cache the entire page.  Full page caching is now officially supported in branchCMS! What is Full Page Cache? "Full page cache"…

New Design for the Admin Login Page

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We have been incrementally updating the admin user interface for Branch CMS and today we pushed out an entirely new look for the login screen. The "Reset your password" screen was also redesigned. The new login screen is a tiny preview of the new admin user interface design that we are working on.  Our old login screen layout was built years ago and was a bit image heavy. The new layout…

Powerful Tools in Branch CMS

Sid Martin in BranchCMS Upgrades
Feature Enhancements for Branch CMS are flowing at an ever-growing pace; our clients expect it, and our partners depend on it. Our focus is on staying applicable to unique needs while remaining intuitive for the end-user. At Aptuitiv we understand that we have found our own success by providing the tools for our clients and partners to succeed. I'd like to show you some of the new features we've…

User Activity and Site Trash

Sid Martin in BranchCMS Upgrades
'User Activity' and 'Site Trash' are new tools available in Branch CMS. They provide you with valuable insight into how the software is being used, and a few ways to restore content if it was mistakenly deleted. Sometimes things get complicated, but we're here to help keep it simple. User Activity To view User Activity in Branch CMS, go to My Apps -> Users (Admin) -> User Activity. You will see a…

New Reports in the Store

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
Today we pushed out an update to the Store app that adds some initial reports about orders.  The main reports page shows a chart of the orders in the last 30 days. On the right are links to the other two reports.  The Orders report shows a chart of orders over a specific time period. You can easily adjust the date range by using the fields above the chart. The Products Ordered report will show…

New Admin Toolbar to Make Editing Pages Easier

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
It is now easier then ever to edit a page on your website. Once you are logged into the CMS you can simply browse your website and then click a link in the new admin toolbar at the top of the page to edit that page.  We have packed a lot of information into the toolbar. For each applicable page there are links to edit the page, blog post, store product or whatever item you're viewing add a new…

Introducing the new Branch brand

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
As some of you may know already we have been in the process of rebranding our software.  Well, it's official now. Aptuitiv Studio is now called Branch CMS. With that comes a new website and soon, a brand new user interface for the CMS.  There is a small change in the administration that you might notice right off. The Aptuitiv Studio logo in the bottom right has been replaced with the new Branch…

New Capabilities w/ Branch Code - Variables & Variable Modifiers

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We recently pushed out some new functionality to our Aptuitiv Code code base. Below are some of those changes. 1. Support for debugging variables when using the table row tags. In the past debugging variables when using the {row}{/row} tags was problematic. We fixed it so that debugging the {#column} tag now works as expected. 2. Added the new {ap:request} tags Sometimes it's desired to send data…

Members App Updates - New Filters for Viewing Profiles

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We've had some requests lately to add some flexibility to viewing member profiles in the administration for our Members app. We've pushed out a number of changes over the last week that make it easier to see the information that you want to see. Below is an overview of the changes that we've made.  Customizable columns for the profile list table You can now customize the columns that show in the…

Database Character Encoding Change

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We just made a change with our databases that will enable support for international characters (like Chinese). For quite a while now our database tables have had the UTF-8 character encoding. However, up until now, our database connections were not explicitly setting the character set for the connection to be UTF-8. This meant that for certain types of queries the data returned was not returned…

Previewing Pages and Blog Posts Before They are Published

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
One of the most requested features that we've received lately is being able to preview pages and Blog posts before they are published. We've also been wanting a preview feature for our blog for quite a while.  I'm pleased to announce that those requests have been taken care of. When previewing a page or blog post you are actually viewing it just like you would on your live site. This means that…

Multiple Add-on App Instances Available on Basic and Plus Versions

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
Today we pushed out an update to one of the core features of Aptuitiv Studio to make it more accessible across different versions of Aptuitiv Studio. Up until today if you wanted to have multiple Blogs you had to be on the Pro version of Aptuitiv Studio. Not any more. A refresher Before I go into what was changed I want to take a moment to explain what add-on app instances are and how they are…

Improvements to the Store Shopping Cart

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We just updated the Store shopping cart page to fix one long standing bug and to add a new feature. The bug fix For a while now the "Continue Shopping" link didn't populate properly if you choose to have it link to the last viewed category or the last viewed product. Well, that's fixed now. View the documentation for that link. The new feature There is now a way to empty the entire cart in on…

A Small Addition to Improve Your SEO

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
For anyone who has mingled within the circles of search engine optimization lately you've probably heard about rel canonical tags. In a nutshell, rel canonical tags provide a way to work around duplicate content on your website. While there are other ways to improve duplicate content, rel canonical tags can be a last resort that just might help improve your search engine rankings.  Here's an…

Importing Into Members From a CSV File is Now Available

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
Earlier this week we released an update to our Members app that allows you to import new members from a CSV file. Simply upload the CSV file and then you can match each column in the file with a member attribute. It even works with custom attributes.

Content Block Layouts and Content Snippets Playing Nicely Together

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
A few weeks ago we introduced Content Snippets, a great way to share editable snippets of content throughout your website. Content Snippets can use a single rich text editor or use a Content Layout. However, sometimes you want to create a Content Layout that can only be used for Content Snippets or just for Pages. Well now you can. Choose whether or not the layout is available to Content…

Introducing Content Snippets

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
If you've edited any pages in your website recently you might have noticed a new section of Pages called Content Snippets. I'm going to explain what Content Snippets are, why we created them and what you can do with them. Content Snippets do pretty much what their name says, they let you create snippets of content to use in other parts of your website. The difference between Content Snippets and…

Include More Campaign Information in Your Email Newsletters

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
When you're creating emails using Aptuitiv Studio Campaigns you can now include information about the campaign in each email.  That information includes: Campaign Name Email Subject From Email From Name Reply-to Email You can see more information about the available tags for Campaigns in our documentation.

View a Campaign Email in Your Browser

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
Our Campaigns app is still relatively new and we've been working hard to add new features to make it a more robust email campaign tool. With that goal in mind, we've recently added the ability for the campaign recipients to view a copy of the email in their browser. All you have to do to enable that is to put a simple link in your email template. <a href="{#campaign.webversion}">View in your…

A Small Change to Editing App Layouts That Makes Things a Little Easier

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
Last week we introduced a small change to editing app layouts that should make things easier. In the past if you needed to change the template that an app layout used you had to create a whole new layout. That's not a terrible thing, but it was a bit inconvenient. We changed all that and made it so that when you edit an app layout you can now edit the template that the layout uses. When you change…

New Attribute to Select a Form to Include on a Page

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
One of the major features of Aptuitiv Studio is the ability to create custom administration forms for pages and apps to fit the data requirements of a particular website. For example, if you have a page that needs more structured content then a rich text editor can provide, you can create a Content Block Layout for pages and create the form fields that you need. There are the standard fields like…

Recent Updates to Forms - BCC Notifications and Attachments

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We just published 2 small updates to the Forms app in Aptuitiv Studio. The first allows you to set one or more BCC email addresses for the administrator notification email.  The other allows you to choose whether or not you want to automatically include file attachments on the administrator notification email. BCC Email Address You can now set one or more email addresses to be BCC'd on the…

An SEO Improvement - Character Counting for Description, Keywords and Page Titles

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
As any good search engine optimization practitioner knows, the title tag and meta description for a page are important for how your website performs in search engines. While the actual text for the title and meta description are the most important factors, the length of the text is also important.  We've now made it really easy to know how long your page titles and meta descriptions are. When…

Delete Files Attached to a Form Submission

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We just published a small update to the form functionality in Aptuitiv Studio. If you have a form where your website visitors can upload files, the only way that you could remove those files from your website was to delete the entire form submission. Not anymore. Now you can delete individual files associated with a form submission without having to delete the entire submission. When viewing the…

Set the Form Tag Attributes When Building the Form to Avoid Writing All That HTML

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
Sometimes when you're building a form you need to set an id or a class on the <form> tag. That's usually done for styling or for attaching some Javascript to the form. It's now easier than ever to do that with Aptuitiv Studio. In the past you would have to write out the HTML for the form tag instead of using the convenient {#form.tag.open} tag (documentation). While that worked, it would be nicer…

Another Navigation API Parameter

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We recently added another API parameter to the Navigation API in Aptuitiv Studio that you might find useful. Say that you have a navigation menu that shows the primary navigation across the top of the website. The main navigation has drop-down menus so the navigation menu is configured to show all sub navigation. In this example you also need to pull in specific sub navigation into the left…

Using URL Request Parameters as the Default Value for Form Fields

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
Sliced Design, one of our partners, recently contacted us with a great feature request. They were building a site with a contact form that needed to have some dynamic default values for some of it's fields. In the site they have links to the form that look like this: site.com/contact?name=Joe. They needed to have the "Name" text box automatically filled with the value from the "name" URL…

Our New File Browser

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
For the last few months we've been working on improving the file browser that we use with TinyMCE in Aptuitiv Studio and I'm pleased to announce that it's now ready. We've been using the TinyBrowser plugin and while it does a good job and has a fair amount of functionality it also has a few shortcomings. The most notable is that if it has a problem generating thumbnails it would crash and not…

Breadcrumb Trails - Tips, Techniques and New Features

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
Breadcrumb trails are a great way to help your site visitors find their place in your website. They're especially useful if a visitor lands deep in your site from a search engine listing as the breadcrumb trail can give them a sense of where they are and an idea of the other content on your website. A breadcrumb trail is a type of secondary navigation for your website. It should supplement your…

Introduction to Blog Tags and Tag Clouds

in BranchCMS Upgrades
Recently we have introduced blog tags and tag clouds into our Blog Add-on. This is a pretty exciting feature that we knew our Blog was lacking for some time now. Well it has finally come up in our development schedule and we think everyone will be pleased with it.   What is a Tag you ask? A tag is a way to outline the important topics of a particular blog post. This way the reader has an idea of…

More Blog RSS and Atom Feeds

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We recently updated our Blog app to make more RSS and Atom feeds available. Previously you could only get a feed on recent posts. We've quadrupled that and now you can get the following feeds in either RSS or Atom format. Recent Posts Posts by category Posts by tag Comments for a single post We also give you a lot of control over how the feed is created. As with before you can change things like…

Paste as Plain Text Differences in TinyMCE 3.3

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
Aptuitiv Studio uses TinyMCE as the rich text editor and we recently upgraded it from version 3.2.6 to 3.3.4. For the most part the upgrade was smooth and from an end user perspective the way the editor works stayed fairly consistent. There was however one thing that was significantly different and that is the Paste as Plain Text functionality. In older versions when you clicked on the Paste As…

Pass Custom Parameters to Use in API Content Templates

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
The development of Aptuitiv Studio is mostly driven by the needs of our customers and recently a client had some special needs. We were working on a website for one of our partners and the section of the site we were working on was for staff profiles. We were using the Directory app for this one. The requirement that was giving some problems was that the design called for navigation that listed…

New API for Calendar to Display a Mini Grid Anywhere in Your Website

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We recently published a new API for the Calendar that enables you to display a mini calendar grid anywhere on your website. We already have an API to display upcoming events but there wasn't any way to display those events in a calendar grid format.  The new API call will display the current month and you can have links to the days of the month that have events.  Pretty much anything that you…

New Tags Available in Content Templates

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
We've recently added support for some new tags in app content templates. What are Content Templates? Content Templates are what gives Aptuitiv Studio the flexibility and power that is has.  It allows developers to create unique layouts for each aspect of a site.  Content Templates use our own AP Code to perform logic and create the output for each page.  There's a whole lot more to it, but…

Exporting Search Reports

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
When you're viewing your search reports in the Aptuitiv Studio administration you can now export the Recent and Popular search reports as a CSV file.  Simply click on the "Export" link in the upper right.

An Easier Way to Link to Pages

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
This morning we pushed out a small update that has a big impact to creating navigation items.  In the past you had to either type in or paste in the URL for a link.  This often meant that you needed to have visited the page that you want to link to and copied the URL before creating a new navigation menu so that you would know what to link to.  There were other techniques as well, but to sum it…

Calendar RSS and Atom feeds are now available

Eric Tompkins in BranchCMS Upgrades
This morning we pushed out a small update to the Calendar app to make some RSS and Atom feeds available. You can have a feed to show recent events or you can use the feed to show recent events by category. In the administration you can click on the Feed tab and see the links to the different feeds. You can also get the API tags to pull the feed links into the <head> section of the page.
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